ESADEgeo Daily Digest, 04/10/2017

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The New York Times—J. Kanter / E.U. said to order Luxembourg to collect back taxes from Amazon

  • European Union officials will order Luxembourg to collect back taxes from the online retail giant Amazon, a source with knowledge of the decision said Tuesday.
  • A 2003 agreement between Amazon and Luxembourg effectively capped the amount of tax Amazon paid, and relied on a method called transfer pricing, according to the European Commission.
  • European regulators have claimed that Amazon sent most of its European revenue from one unit in Luxembourg to a separate subsidiary that was not liable to pay corporate tax in the country.
  • Offering special deals to companies that are not available to their competitors can amount to illegal state aid.

Politico—E. Johnson / Trump prepares to wound Iran deal — and then save it

  • U.S. President Donald Trump’s national security team has unanimously recommended that he decertify the Iran nuclear deal — but that he stop short of pushing Congress to reimpose sanctions on Tehran that could unravel the agreement.
  • Trump is expected to act as early as next week. After he does, administration officials are expected to press Republican lawmakers not to reimpose nuclear sanctions, which would effectively unravel the agreement in the eyes of the Iranian government and many U.S. allies.
  • In return, Trump officials, led by McMaster, plan to reassure congressional Republicans — virtually all of whom opposed the deal — with a pressure campaign against Iran.
  • Of particular focus will be the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which the administration will designate as a foreign terrorist organization.

Project Syndicate—S. Ben-Ami / The resilience of Spanish democracy

  • After the 2004 bombings of Madrid’s train system, an “alliance of civilizations” arose in Spain to disarm extremism by building bridges with Islam. This tolerant attitude toward the country’s Muslim minority endures to this day.
  • The absence of right-wing political nostalgia in Spain may be explained partly by the fact that a three-year civil war preceded the establishment of Franco’s dictatorship in 1939. That experience nurtured a strong pacifist sentiment among the Spanish public, which endures to this day.
  • This is not to say that Spain is a utopia of social unity. On the contrary, the country is now confronted with the major challenge that the Catalan separatist bid represents.
  • The PP has staunchly defended Spanish unity, dismissing Catalonia’s independence referendum as unconstitutional and deploying police to stop the vote from taking place (at times in lamentably brutal ways).
  • However, the message is clear: the conflict in Spain is among natives, not against non-natives, and the country’s European credentials remain strong.

The Economist / A Sikh becomes leader of Canada’s left-leaning opposition party

  • Jagmeet Singh won the leadership of Canada’s left-leaning New Democratic Party (NDP) on October 1st. Singh is a Sikh, and he is the first member of a “visible minority” to lead a political party at federal level.
  • Sikhs have made more headway in Canadian politics than most minority groups, partly because they are geographically concentrated in a few constituencies in Ontario and British Columbia, which helps them win elections.
  • Mr Singh hopes to win over Canadians with a political programme that includes reducing inequality, improving pay and working conditions for people in insecure jobs, reforming the first-past-the-post electoral system and improving relations with indigenous peoples.
  • The odds that Mr Singh will one day become prime minister are slim. The NDP has governed provinces (it is currently in power in Alberta and British Columbia) but never the country.

The selected pieces do not necessarily reflect the views of Javier Solana and ESADEgeo. 

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